A Cruise autonomous vehicle appeared to get in the way as emergency crews were responding to a shooting in San Francisco's Mission District on Friday night.
The Chevrolet Bolt EV-based autonomous vehicle was accused of blocking emergency responders who were trying to aid victims of the mass shooting incident.
Nine people were wounded in the mass shooting that was described by the police as a "targeted and isolated" incident. According to reports from local media outlets, the shooting happened shortly after 9 pm during a party hosted by a clothing store near the intersection of 24th Street and Treat Avenue.
While the San Francisco Police Department said all nine victims were expected to survive their injuries, the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital said one of the victims was in critical condition as of Saturday afternoon.
Footage shared by bystander Paul Valdez on Twitter (via Teslarati) showed the Cruise AV stopped in the middle of the road during the incident. A police officer could be seen in the video walking over to the stopped vehicle and directing a flashlight toward the cabin as he said the car was blocking emergency, medical, and fire response. He could be heard saying, "I gotta get it out of here now."
In the same Twitter thread, the General Motors-owned company responded to accusations that its self-driving car was blocking the road by saying the vehicle "initially stopped as it was approaching an active emergency scene, then proceeded to do a U-turn and pull over." Cruise noted that "throughout this time, all vehicles, including emergency response vehicles, were able to proceed around our car."
That said, some Twitter users asked why the Cruise robotaxi had to stop in the middle of the road, do a U-turn, and then pull over, instead of pulling over directly.
The incident attracted Tesla CEO Elon Musk's attention, who posted an exclamation mark in a comment to a post about the incident. His tweet received a response from Cruise CEO and co-founder Kyle Vogt, who reiterated the company's position that "at no point did the Cruise vehicle block access for first responders."
He then asked a rhetorical question, "why criticize AVs doing the right thing and staying back + pulling out of the way?" Mind you, this wasn't the first time Musk tweeted about a Cruise vehicle. Last week, he said of a Cruise AV stuck in the middle of a San Francisco intersection that its software was "extremely brittle to local conditions."